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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  July 19, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EDT

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for you. that is good enough. i have had something to avoid fraud. i have got to have something that verify sure claim. but i am not looking to get fancy here. i want to get the money out to people who need it. i am working for you. whatt's get creative as to you offer in the way of corroboration. i will bend over backwards to corroborate these emergency payments. but i have to have some corroboration. so i will know how much to give you per months or six months. no obligation. mr. feinberg, i am losing $7,000 a month but bp put me to work skimming and that makes up $6,000 so i'm only out $1,000. all right, i'll give you $1,000.
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you had mitigated and reduced what you are out of work by having another job so i will reduce that amount. what are you getting? emergency payments. when the oil stops, and we all have a better handle of where it is going and how it is spread, then you come in and say, ok, now all i want a lump-sum payment. i am shrimper -- i am a shrimper. i think that shrimping, i am out of luck for three years. well, that is what you say. i am looking at this in passing the experts down in the parish -- you will not be out of luck for three years.
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your outlook for two years. i will give you $143,000 if you will release bp from any lawsuits. you can sue somebody else you -- if you want, but here's the check and you sign away if you will not sue bp. you can sign -- yes, give me the check. release, sign your name, or you are not treating me fairly, i think it is not enough, i don't know about the future, i do not want the money. do not take it. do not take it. co filed a lawsuit. wait, come back a year later, this program will be running for three years. no rush if you want to wait and see. that is up to you.
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that is how the program is going to work. now that is not how the moratorium is going to work. the $100 million is different. that is altogether different. that is not part of my program. but you're going ask questions about it and i want you to know is going happen. the 100 may in dollar moratorium rig workers, not businesses, this is a wage loss only because of the moratorium on the rigs. they are what is going to happen -- there what is going happened is someone will take all the claims and divide up the $100 million based on the claims. that are 1100 workers and here it is/what is and that is all that you get. there is no more money on the moratorium.
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bp will not -- will not add to that $100 million. that is a one-shot contribution. keep in mind -- i cannot help anybody. if you do not file claims. i am worried that they're too many people, whatever their motivation, who will not file a claim. in if you do not file a claim with the gulf coast claims facility i cannot help you. ." have already filed a claim with bp, that is good enough. you do not have to read-file. -- re-file. you do not have to start over, as i have explained over and
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over again, louisiana, when i takeover we're not reinventing the wheel. it is already in place. we already have the bp program. i want the program made better. i think that the bp program is not swift enough especially with small businesses that are waiting. is not fast enough. we've got to accelerate the process and make it more efficient. we have got to get the money out quicker. i realize that. but i am coming here to louisiana with my boston accent, coming here to louisiana urging the citizens of louisiana to take advantage of this program. do i need a lawyer, mr. feinberg? you do not failure. we will help you fill up claims. i am not adversarial to the people here.
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i am trying to get the money up. you do not need a lawyer. i want a lawyer. fine -- bring a lawyer, bring a priest, bring your wife and husband, bring your accountant. i do not care who you bring. i do not care who helps you, but i will say this -- you do not need a lawyer to fill out these forms. in fact, i suspect in the next few weeks, just with might -- just as with my 9/11 fund, we will have lawyers if you want to help you for free -- for free if you think you need one. so that is how the program is going to work. it is not just wages. if you have a business and you are losing revenue -- mr. feinberg, but cannot schrempp. hrimp.cannot schr
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we cannot oyster harvest. we cannot -- file a claim. compensable. i do not know. there is no oil on the beach. it does not have to be oil on the beach. you cannot fish. you cannot shrimp. you cannot process shrmip. your food processor, a wholesaler. file a claim. you will be eligible. the amazing thing to me are the number of people who so far have not filed a claim, even for
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emergency payments which you are not giving up any rights whatsoever. so the main reason i am here today at the request of gov. gentle -- governor jindal and the local parish is to promote this program. and to urge everybody to take advantage of the program. if you are not eligible -- so you are not eligible. you still have all of your other rights. my goal is to make sure that whenever you get in court after years of litigation with lawyers, i would do it better and quicker. that is the overview of the program and i welcome the
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opportunity to respond to questions from this audience. >> i am glad you cameto houma and i'm glad that you're working for me. i have been working with bp.
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i still cannot get all my vessels to work. almost every day at: -- i call and [unintelligible] everything the shutdown. >> you ask two questions. let's let me make sure that i anderson and the question. i take it that the first question is you are not getting any response from bp to your questions? >> yes, sir. >> that guy right here, and carol willis, on the front row, he is going to chat with you
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when you get responses to your questions or he is going to take down your name and get right back to use the that you get response. >> speak into the microphone. >> i spoke to him. i told him the problem, what we had, and i've never had a response. >> two lancers -- answers. you're going to get a response and in about two weeks, i'm going to leave here today and you give me whatever information that you need -- believe me, you are going to get a response. on oysters or shrimp or fishing, keep in mind -- this is very important. are you going to be able to file
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a claim even though the oil has not reached your oysters because they will not a to harvest the oysters, or you cannot sell the oysters? yes. file a claim. i am not going to require that the oysters actually be harmed by the oil. that is not required. if you can demonstrate that the market for oysters has dried up because of the oil, and even though the oil is never reached your oyster, we will take care of you. to get one of the thing. i work just northwest of grand isle. [unintelligible]
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>> i don't understand the question. >> it came out of the leases. >> the oil has harmed the torture beds? valid claims. resources. you cannot get to the fish. the fish do not have to be swimming in the world. we will take care of this as long as you file a claim. >> so far we're talking about income and affecting our revenue. my question is, should we be hit with the hurricane in our communities and our homes and our property is covered with oil, what happens then? i know insurance is not going to cover oil damage to our property. >> i will look at that problem. if a hurricane comes along and damages your home this summer with oil caused by this bill
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because of that natural disaster, you have got a claim. >> good day, sir. i was employed by an oil-field service company and now was laid off because of the spill. am i entitled to file a claim for lost wages? >> you have been laid off as a direct result of the oil spill. if it was not for the oil spill, you would still be working. i will take a look at that. these questions come up -- i think that you are eligible. i think that you are. you have been laid off directly as a result of this bill -- this
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spill. you had a valid claim. >> is your criteria going to be any different in your program as opposed to the bp program? >> our program will pick up where the bp program left off. i am hoping and i believe that we will find more eligibility than under the bp program. we will find more people and businesses eligible, and we will process the claims faster. right now banks to darrell and bp, bp has done a pretty good job of processing wage loss claims. they have not been as effective as they should be in processing business claims, lost business
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profits. we have got to do better on that. i think it's fair to say you do not have to refile. we will pick up where bp left off, accelerate the process not only of individual claims but business interruption and lost profit claims as well. >> my husband owns part of a crab dock but he is also late fishermen. they were compensating us for his fishing loss even though they have not got around to the business claims, a common complaint. now they have stopped compensating us on his fishing losses since he owns part of a company even though they are separate. how will that be handled under your program? >> file 1 claim. it will say loss businesses, crabs are whatever, and in one claim form you will file both
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claims and we will process them together. >> i just doubled my business. [unintelligible] if they form soft shell crab, is the government when to come in and eat those crabs? >> i'm not sure that i understood the question. you on a soft shell crab business. >> the biggest one in the state. i got crabs going to hawaii, the west coast. [inaudible] are you going to eat any of those crabs?
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you have to eat the whole crab. >> i don't know whether i'm going eat the whole crab or not. [laughter] but when you file that claim, you're going to state in your claim that you are to be compensated for the entire loss of the crab, not part of the crab -- in other words, you're revenue and your loss that you are losing is because you cannot ship that crab around the country. >> bp put me out of business. i don't have any crabs' and more. howard baker 1 d get that oil all of the bottom of the gulf of mexico? -- how are they going to get that oil off of the bottom of the gulf of mexico? >> let me ask you a question. you are an expert. how long you think it will be
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before you will be of the harvest those crowds again at the bottom of the cup? >> 30 years. >> you're saying that you have a total loss of your business. >> i worked in the oil business for 36 years. bp and company, [unintelligible] i went to bp for three days. i showed them the process. i could not even get an appointment. bp was supposed to get me a meeting. none of them never gave me a meeting. i taught the bp on the fund. nobody ever called me. i could stop the leak of a long time ago. [applause] >> i am not here to stop the leak.
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i am here to urge you to try and get compensated for your loss. that is what i am here for. >> i was trying to save my company. [unintelligible] >> in spite of bp's assertion is that they have been paying on average in nine days on claims, all of the claims that i had filed, none of them have been paid. i am running at an average of 53 days since they were submitted. will claims that had been sitting there for 53 days get any priority one she takeover? >> yes, we will immediately prioritize claims that are already in inventory. >> will there be put forth a standard set of data required? df have been sending in p
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format. and now they bought three years of checking account records. it changes every single day and it is completely arbitrary. >> i agree with you that the current decentralized system is in shambles. i am agreeing with you. what i am doing in the next couple of weeks, not months, is set up a centralized system online, at in these 35 claims offices -- we will have systematically, consistently what we want. you will know what we want. that is all that we want and we're not. it change from claims office to claims office. >> next question -- are those same people going to be in place? >> summit done a decent job but they mean more direction.
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they are a louisiana company and i like that. bp is out. we will set up the new infrastructure. we're going to set up an infrastructure that is going to systematically, consistently make it easier to file, find out we're claim is, in process that claim. >> lastly, sir, are you going to make the computation process public? we're dealing with -- let's say one of my clients gets a check. how did they come up with that amount? i sent them $100,000 of tickets. they will not tell as. >> let me tell you something about transparency. the methodology that i am going to be used to calculate the claims will be public. you can challenge it if you think it is wrong. it will be made available to anyone who wants it. that is first. secondly, if governor jindal has
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complained to me about anything, it is the absence of reliable data. homeland's security and washington, very concerned about the lack of really transparent, could data. we are going to get that data and make that data available. not personal information -- that is private. if we're going to get the type of data that everyone needs to see how the program is working, that we will do. >> i thank you, sir. i have been pulling my hair out for the last 60 days dealing with this. it is a complicated process. i would appreciate, unless you in tired -- intend to bring in a legion of lawyers, i hope that
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they have the people's interest in hard the way that i did. >> if they do not, they will have every right -- and they would not be so bad off retaining you, frankly. >> thank you. [applause] >> we're caught in the middle because we cannot file because we're in the moratorium. there are thousands of us who are independent contractors. we cannot file unemployment. am sure that no one wants those numbers. i am not sure that those businesses, where they can go. next week there are 20,000 attendees already registered. these are the people that are affected they have nowhere to go. i do not know where we all its businesses, because we cannot
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-- right now. ed 85% loss in the business. -- we are at 85% loss in the business. the people that we serve as, they are at 85% or 90%. they are trying to send their people better places. >> ma'am, you are exactly in no- man's land. let me tell you. i want you to note, i want you to understand the dilemma here. if your business has been adversely impacted by the moratorium -- not the spill, the moratorium -- i think it's fair to say you are not eligible for any of the $100 million moratorium, you are not eligible under the program i am in ministry -- you are not. right now, right now is your
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only hope is a lawsuit. and i am not advising that because i am not sure that you can win it. all i can say this to you, of all the questions i have heard here today, the one that is the most distressing to me is yours, because i can only do what i can do. i can help fishermen and shrimpers an oyster harvesters and boats and people impacted by the spill,be,rs -- crabbers. i can direct rig workers to the moratorium fund. business is impacted by the moratorium, i do not have a satisfactory answer for you, at least not right now i do not. i'm sorry. i do not. >> my husband is a captain, but
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inland, and he works in the summer and comes back usually in october and works the winter here. he has got a claim he is working on. i have been told not to turn it in yet and been told to go on and turn it in and get it into the system. my first question is, when do i turn it in? >> turned it in now. >> my second question is, do i say for this year and hopefully next year that we will not needed because its customers can come back and fish, or do we go for two years? >> come in right now and get six months of emergency pay without waiting in the rights. later on, six months from now when the oil had stopped, we hope, then you will sit down and you will come in and you will seek what you believe you need
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to make yourself hold next year, the hereafter, the rafter, depending on how long you think the spill will adversely impact your husband's business. that is right. >> i am sure processor here. when this bill started -- the spill started in april, we had inventories. he also chose to work. and i think that we're being penalized for that. work product, we sold our inventory, so in the month and may and the month of june, we made a meager profit. bp is basing their claims of profit and loss. we talk to them and said, let's take a look at production figures compared to last year, an inventory figures which right
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now i'm 50% in inventory of what i had last year at this time, and one hour before i came to this meeting i was denied the claim. will your system take care of me that has no inventory and no possibility of building inventory? >> i am surprised that one hour ago you said you're actually denied. you actually got word from bp that claim was the night? >> let me rephrase that. they said that we were not eligible for any funds in the months of may or june, but maybe by august and september when we start showing losses, then maybe we are eligible. but how do we survive until the end crush margins and it you are out of inventory, you are suffering losses. you have no inventory. i do not understand. you are already suffering losses. you have nothing to sell because
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you have nothing in your warehouse. >> i do not understand it. >> i think you have a valid claim in we should talk before i leave here today. let me make sure i have the right information. >> we're in a joint venture with bp everybody is talking about how we're bringing that oil up from the depths and the bottom. we're bringing up 720,000 gallons a minute, which is an issue that no one is addressing. but all the local fishermen and capt., they are doing this 24 hours a day. and like to talk to you also afterwards. [unintelligible]
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>> thank you, sir. >> i am a commercial fisherman. during the storm, they not be out of business for a while. [inaudible] this year is getting ready to start again. >> if i understand correctly, you have to refile for claim or what? [inaudible] >> did you file a claim for bp? >> yes.
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>> again, again, if you let filed a claim with bp, and the claim has not been decided, you do not know what happened, it is sitting there, it has not been resolved, we will resolve those claims in the next few weeks. i cannot do it now. we're setting up the new system. but you do not have to refile. we will resolve that claim. >> thank you. . >> a lot of people are afraid to make a claim with bp.
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and all that other stuff in between. often'd be amazed at how i get questions about cash. there is nothing illegal about getting paid in cash. it is not illegal. there are plenty of people that get paid in cash and it is perfectly ok. nobody says that is illegal. the wages they you only receive in cash, i need you to help me prove the amount. i have got to know the amount. and there are various ways you can show me the amount. you can show me the tax return, you can show me a profit loss statement from the company. you can show me checks or check
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stubs. you can even come to me and say , mr. feinberg, here is my capt.. he will vouch for me that it is $5,000 a month. show me you are able to corroborate the cash. i will give you six months worth of cash. but, you're going to get a 1099 from me. i am going to send you a form from the internal revenue service. i can't violate the law. i am going to send you that 1099. it is up to you. ladies and to amend, i don't need a tax return to corroborate the catch -- cash.
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i will be as generous as i can, but i cannot violate the law. acan't accept i came off -- claim from an undocumented worker. they don't have to be a citizen. they have to have a green card. i will work with you guys to try to make this program work. one other thing, a very important -- one other thing, very important. if i come to you with cash, corroborate it. are you going to send my file to the government? absolutely not. this is a confidential
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submission. you are not going to send it to any government. i want to know, mr. feinberg, when you get this information, is it confidential and is it sealed away? the answer is yes. we will provide some important data to the governor and others to make sure that they understand the overall program, how it is working. general statistics we are not going to disclose to anybody. >> i would like to know how long it will be before the workers get paid. >> how long before the moratorium rig workers get paid? not on my watch, at least not yet. i don't know the status of where that $100 million is.
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as soon as i can find out, you are not the only person asking me that question. public officials are asking me that question. it is at the top of their agenda. i will try to get an answer for you as soon as i can. i will let you know as soon as i can. >> everybody from bp is saying the or the one responsible for this. and you aren't dishing out the money for the rig workers. -- are sishing out the money for the rig workers. they say they are waiting for your final word. >> the question is, when he tried to file a claim, bp said, no, you have to wait until ken
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feinberg takes over. >> they are saying they can't issue out any money until they get the final word. >> it just as bad. you are able to file a claim of bp. pay thatsay they won't claim because they are waiting for mr. feinberg. let me tell you, he is right here. they have paid out about $150 million worth of claims. i think, you ought to talk to darrell about getting that claim processed. if it is a tough case or a problem area, i will take a look at it. i will be up and running in the next couple of weeks. i will try to get to that claim as soon as i can. >> my name is thomas,
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[inaudible] our families have been directly impacted by the closure of the traditional fishing grounds as a result of the infiltration of the surface and disbursements. i am requesting that our leadership and staff members meet with you personally as soon as possible to explore the unique situation that we are in currently. commercial fishing is the single of our tribe.est - our very existence is being threatened by this oil spill. i have information for you to
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contact me. and all the political people in attendance, we are a sovereign nation with our own constitution. >> if i understand this correctly, your concern on behalf of indian tribes is not simply hot loss of fishing rights or whatever. it is the natural habitat, the whole area that has been adversely impacted by this bill. and natural resources are threatened. absolutely, you have a claim. the individual members who are each adversely impacted by the oil here ruining scenic land and fishing rights and swampland and marshes, the physical injury to
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the land. it is absolutely compensable. you should file a claim. >> but our burial grounds and our indian bones are being affected adversely also. to the lady earlier about being a lawyer and going through the process, we fought for recognition several years ago. it was supposed to be an 18- month process, and it has been 30 years later. for can't compensate physical injury before the spill, years ago. but to the extent that the spill has adversely impacted your use of the land and the fishing rights and the marshes, what ever else. that is absolutely compensable. i don't know if you have filed a claim and, but you should file a
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claim and we will help you file the claim because it is compensable. >> would we be able to sit down and talk with you, did these -- i have these for you. >> yes. >> mr. feinberg, you mentioned you will be in operation in three or four weeks. will you have a formal office, or do you anticipate the same offices that bp presently has? >> yes. he will maintain the 35 offices that bp has set up around the gulf. we might add some. i got a call from the attorney general of texas saying that
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galveston needs an office. we may supplement with additional offices and additional staff. we wanted to try to make it as convenient as possible, including an electronic on-line filing where you don't even have to go to an office. we will do what we can to make sure it is successful. >> you managed the 9/11 disaster from start to finish, is that correct? how much time did it take to complete that management? how do you envision this spill disaster, with its width and breadth of a fact as compared to 9/11? >> 9/11 we resolve the 7300 claims for death and physical injury in 33 months. less than three years. this program that i am setting up will be in effect for about
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three years. now, you imply an interesting question. mr. feinberg, you are around for three years, but we are not sure how long the effects of this spill -- we might not be able to fish for seven years, six years, eight years. 30 years. how are you going to deal with this problem? here is what we're going to do. we are going to sit down with you, we are going to say, how long do think it will take before your business will be restored? he says never. it all right. we will have experts from around
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the country and around the area. we think it will probably be three years. here is a check for three years. you don't need to take the check. if you take the check for three years, you are releasing bp. that is your choice. but we think -- we think three years, you don't have to take it. >> my last question is, mr. feinberg, i assume you communicate with the president on a fairly regular basis. since you are during the entire gulf coast, and he has also, i would ask and plead with you that you, from time to time, reflect your ability to understand the tremendous impact of the people of the gulf coast, and that the president would show some sympathy for the
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people here, and realize that some of the actions that his administration has taken is tending to possibly exacerbate the economic disaster. i wish you a voice those opinions to him whenever you have a chance. >> let me say a couple of things about that. i do not speak to the president at all. that is because i am not working for the administration or bp. i am an independent. i am setting up an independent process. it is not political. i am working for you. fortunately, your message, there are people in this audience to do work for the administration. i am sure your words will get back to him.
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>> thank you very much. [inaudible] >> just to those three. >> last year, i made $8,000 are so fishing. this year, i probably lost 50,000. i am wondering, how my going to determine my losses on my claims? [inaudible] last year, i had a small boat. this year, i bought a different boat. >> last year, you own a small boat and made $8,000, this year, you had a bigger boat had and would have made a $50,000?
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show us that you would have made a $50,000 cash, explain in, corroborate it, we will pay it. if you can't corroborate it, it is $8,000 or something in between. >> i could have made that. >> explain to our people, here is my plan. if israel, if it is not speculative, we pay it. if it is too speculative. who knows what you would have made. the question is, can you corroborate it? >> also, on the claim, do we get the $5,000 a month, his [unintelligible] >> if you filed with bp, you
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don't have to file again. we will inherit that claim and process it as soon as we can. two more questions. >> when you take over in a couple of weeks and someone files a claim, how long afterwards before you can get a check in their hands? >> if it is an emergency payment, we hope to process that claim within 24 hours and pay within two or three days thereafter. >> the business has to be directly affected. for instance, if you have a restaurant and you can show your sales have decreased the last two or three months, can they file a claim also? >> as they can file a claim. whether a restaurant will be compensated will depend on its eligibility. how close is it to the coast? how dependent is it on the fishing? we will have to make some judgment calls.
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i can't pay a restaurant in boston that says it can't get tramp. but i am certainly willing to pay a restaurant that is on the gulf coast. i will tell you that. >> if someone is to go to work for bp, will that affect their emergency payment? >> if somebody goes to work for bp, that will not affect their emergency payment except in one way. ha we will the doctor, obviously, the amount of you are getting as wages as a substitute for you being out of work. if you were going to get $5,000 of unemployed a month, now you're getting $3,000 a month from bp, dead as a $2,000 swing that you will get. you will not be ineligible. >> if you were able to do some during the season, will that affect your final payment ex-
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husband >> will seasonal variations have an impact on your payment? sure. we want to know what those variations are and factor those into the overall calculation. >> one more question. we filed a claim on shrimp. one family that has 10 brothers are sisters -- do we have to refile another claim? does each individual have to be there? >> if it is a business, you file one claim. if it is 10 different siblings that are all working and have their own in, and their own share or whatever it is, they file separately. if you have a business, you file as a business. we will process its either way. >> we filed with the shrimp claim in the oyster claim at the same time? >> sure. let me just say this until we turn it back over to our leader.
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i will come back as often as is necessary. my frustration is if people don't file a claim. i want to try and help. hopper i have got this money to distribute. but i need it -- i can only help if the claim is filed. i am acting independently. i am enormously grateful to the governor who helped set up this entire day of meetings. i will do everything i can to help you folks. i wish you well. i can't imagine what you are going through. i hope to be able to help you in some way. thank you very much. [applause] >> i think everybody agrees to thank mr. feinberg for being here. we obviously one can doubt in the future.
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mr. feinberg will be meeting right here with the media, so if you want to start accumulating, that will be fine. we will have other media right here. i wanted to introduce some of our elected officials. we have a representative joe harrison, our councilmen, a number of people on board and agencies. those were all the elected officials i saw. anybody else? >> machel. >> one question i wanted to ask mr. feinberg? i wanted the public to ask the questions first. we have a number of people because claims have been delayed, we need a moratorium with the banks in the loan institutions to stop them from possibly foreclosing on businesses, homes, and people's assets. we need a lot of help to protect
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those people that are going through this situation right now. [inaudible] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> in a few moments, a
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discussion on conducting trials for guantanamo bay detainees. in about an hour, plans to send more national guard troops to the u.s.-mexico border. and after that, president obama encourages senators to pass a bill extending unemployment insurance. on "washington journal tomorrow morning, we will talk with a deputy cia director john mclaughlin. and we will discuss the future of medicaid. "washington journal" live on c- span, every day at 7:00 eastern. >> the senate judiciary committee will vote on the nomination of elena kagan. watch live coverage on c-span 3 , and learn more about the supreme court in c-span's new
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book "the supreme court." providing unique insight throughout the court. >> the senate select committee on intelligence will be have a hearing tomorrow. you can watch it live on c- span3 at 2:30 p.m. eastern. a discussion -- a discussion on guantanamo bay detainee trials. we will hear from a former federal judge who argues against tribunals. they hosted this -- and human rights first posted this hour- long event. -- hosted this hour-long event. >> i am the program director of human rights first.
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i wanted to welcome everyone to a discussion on a report recently released along with the constitution project. federal courts handling the guantanamo cases -- i hope everyone picks up a copy of the report that was on the back. a very brief introduction for those of you who don't know, it is a u.s.-based organization that works to advance human rights protections globally. it is fair to say that how the united states conducts its counter-terrorism efforts as a global impact on human rights. and that governments and human rights activists pay very close attention to what the united states is doing in relation to international human rights standards. it to our organization, along with the constitution project has worked extensively. the issue of counter-terrorism
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-- and in looking at counter- terrorism and human rights, we have done a number of things on the competency of u.s. federal courts and the important role that the judicial branch plays in counter-terrorism efforts. in doing so, we have benefited tremendously from the perspective of experts that are well positioned to understand the work of the courts. we did a report with former federal prosecutors on the capability of civilian courts to handle terrorism, prosecution, and i hope that -- in this recent report on habeus litigation, there are several that endorsed the report. i should just note that at -- we
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at human rights first don't necessarily agree with every decision that the courts have made. in some instances, we have advocated reconsideration of them. the important point for today is that this report, in our view, demonstrates that the process is a sound one, and that the report also dispels the notion that the approach of the courts is somehow in disarray and there is an urgent need for congressional intervention. the last point i will make is in relation to the congress. it is worth reminding folks that back in 2007, before the supreme court restored habeus, a bipartisan majority of senators voted to restore habeus as a legislative act in guantanamo.
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in light of this new report, members should follow through on that impulse to restore the proper role of the courts in detention cases, and they should allow courts to do their job. thank you again for coming. there is a great crowd here, and i like to turn it over to share in bradford franklin from the constitution project will instant -- introduce our panelists and moderate the discussion today. >> i want to join pat and thank you for joining us here today. for those of you not familiar with the constitution project, but we're a bipartisan organization based here in washington, d.c. his mission is to promote constitutional safeguards. we do that by working together
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with a variety of our committees which pull together experts from across the political spectrum and work with them to develop to develop policy recommendations that promote constitutional safeguards and are most relevant to our work is the work of our liberty and security committee, which on a variety of issues post-9/11 its recommendations to ensure that we're protecting our national security and our civil liberties. we're very pleased to be partnering on a variety of issues in that context. we were talking about how habeas works. and we see this as a sequel. the supreme court in the boumediene decision said that
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this applied to the guantanamo detainees. they could not strip that right without violating. the courts have had the mandate to go ahead and litigate these habeas cases. the report today really examines the years of habeas litigation here in washington and in some cases in the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit and analyzes how that process has been working. in that report, we partner to endorse -- to be enforced by 16 judges. why you should care about this is as all of you know, there are various members of congress who have said that congress should get involved. if congress should be passing
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legislation to govern the habeas process until the courts what to do here. our report is to tell you know, congress does not need to get involved. the panel will give you a lot more detail on why that would be unwise and unnecessary. i want to make the point that we're generally not in the business of telling the u.s. congress to stay out of things. i have a long list of things we would love to see congress do. this is not our general message for congress to stay out of things. i am happy to talk to any of you who like the ball afterwards. look at the front page of today's "washington post" starting a series on top-secret america. too many agencies doing the same thing in not talking to each other. are we really kidding where we
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need to be post-9/11. there are a lot of issues. there was a humanitarian law project this term. state secrets privilege needs reform. the patriot that, we never got those reforms from the last congress. we would love to work with them on that. i have a long wish list and i'm sure that we have eight overlapping last year as well that they would love to talk about. here in the context of the habeas cases, that is not the case. and the second general. of one and make is about how we agree that checks and balances are critical. that is what the constitution project is about. we're urging congress to play that function. but in this context, we have checks and balances. the courts are checking executive discretion and we're
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not saying that they do not have the framework to get involved here. that is not the message. it would be unwise and unnecessary in this context for congress to get involved as well. you a brief give introductions of our panelists, and then we will hear first from judge louis who is one of the judges actually join in this report, he can give his traditional perspective. and then judge spaulding will proceed from the actual habeas litigator perspective. and then i will have conversation and then we want to open and up to you for a question and answer. judge louis served both on the federal district court for the
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western district of pennsylvania and then on the court of appeals for the third circuit. he is also served in the u.s. attorney's office in pennsylvania and he is in private practice. doug spaulding is a partner here in d.c. he has a widespread litigation practice in both federal and state courts. today he is counsel in habeas litigation on behalf of three guantanamo detainees. i am going to turn the discussion over to them now. we will hear first from judge lewis. >> thank you, sharon. thank you all for being here today. a couple of things before i delivered what sharon has asked me to deliver, something of an
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opening statement summarizing some of my views before we open this up for questions. i am not an expert in the intricacies of all of the cases, the vagaries and so forth, involving the guantanamo detainees. i have been a signatory to a number amicus briefs filed around the country, which dated of you that i agreed with. i spent considerable time discussing and number of the underlying issues, but i am not actually, as my colleague has done, argued one of these cases in a federal appellate court. however, i did spend a fair amount of time has a state prosecutor and then a federal prosecutor, and then as a
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district court judge, and finally as a judge on united states courts of appeal for the third circuit. had been in private practice since then. all those experiences have given me some insight into habeas law and the appropriateness of the court review of habeas petition s and some of the problems that can arise when congress, in my view, unnecessarily steps into the fray because members of congress for what ever reason disagreed with the manner in which the courts are handling particular issues. i fear is that where -- that is where we may be heading and concern of the issue of habeas rights and guantanamo detainees. as sharon mentioned, there is no question that congress has the
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power, as the authority to do so. there is no question about that. when i was nominated for the third circuit court of appeals many years ago, many people ask me throughout the process when my nomination was pending and in my confirmation hearings, are you willing to practice judicial restraint or are you going to be an activist? act of this bad, judicial restraint could. -- activist bad, judicial badgood. we heard this with elaine a cake in and justice of the mower and my colleague from the third circuit, justice toledo. -- justice alito.
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this is one of those moments for congress to show restraint. i prepared my statement in this regard in march of this year in the form of an article that the former chief judge of the third circuit and i wrote that appeared in the "national law journal." with your indulgence i will refer to it now because it pretty much summarizes what i think is the right approach and what i think is the wrong approach. this was written primarily in response to an approach recommended by the charges that were leveled by the brookings institution which faulted congress for failing to act by writing a detailed code that the specified procedures that courts should use in deciding who at
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guantanamo bay may be lawfully detained. we wrote this piece because of our concern that i mentioned earlier, about congressional action where it is not necessary and where it may well be the likelihood that things could become more mobile -- muddled. so i will refer to our article. we wrote that in response to that attack, in all likelihood, senator mccain and senator lieberman introduced a bill in the senate that would codify the government's power to detain suspects indefinitely without charge. and then senator graham, someone i respect a great deal, began to draft legislation in support of something very similar.
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all of these pieces of legislation are still spending -- pending. i think that summer in the drafting stage. we contended that those arguing for new laws such as these misunderstand fundamentally both the limits of the legislative function and the nature of the judicial process. determining whether prisoners detention is unlawful has always been a judicial function. some reflection should provide insight into why that is so and why it should be so. a wide range of conduct that we subject a person to lawful detention cannot be reduced to a statute. take for instance, we wrote, the detainees alleged attendance at a training camp. what if you stayed only a day for a week and in that time,
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engage in no training at all and left voluntarily? what if he attended longer than a week but was kicked out because he opposed all form of terrorism? what if he attended the camp on affiliated with al qaeda and was opposed to their extremist etiology? should any of these people be detained for the rest of their lives? or consider coerced statements, drawing the line between lawful and unlawful coercion a question that judges face every day. the answer to this question depends almost always on the totality of the circumstances. how can the totality be spelled out in a coat? -- a code? interrogators' may not question prisoners for more than 20 consecutive hours. does that mean in a statement
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taken in less than 20 hours is automatically admissible? or should the answer depends on whether additional coercive techniques were used? and if other techniques are relevant as courts have found that they are, does it depend on which one and what combination they reduced and with what frequency over what period of time? but the interrogator question detainees for more than 20 consecutive hours? is a statement automatically inadmissible? the problem is that questions like these can be infinitely multiplied and they will always eluded legislative resolution. should courts amid and give equal weight to all hearsay or should it depends on what did the statement comes from a u.s.
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intelligence officer as opposed to another detainee? what about the here say from the intelligence service or police department of another country? should they be treated differently? the point here is that he had met. >> in of this of critique in admissibility of hearsay comprises a constellation of factors that by its nature cannot be reduced to codification. the jurisprudence surrounding guantanamo detainees is developing, in our view, precisely as it should. the courts have carefully considered and carefully balance the government's interest in security, the country's interest in security, against the prisoners interest in liberty, all the while protecting
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national secrets and judicial integrity. some prisoners have one, some prisoners have lost. and a coherent jurisprudence is in fact taking shape. the problem at the brookings institution has was that there was a sense that once judge may set -- evaluate a set of facts differently than another. but the only acknowledge what is trivial, the brookings institution seems to seize on that fact and complain that these guantanamo decisions made the inconsistent. habeas decisions are subject to appeal the appellate process sans down about issues of judicial independence and gradually produces a consistent jurisprudence. if congress was to do as
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brookings bids the certainty we're achieving would weigh down in a lot of litigation. that is not wise. we contend that decisions involving liberty interests balanced against government interests and security must remain in the hands of judges who have handled these cases and these kinds of issues for years. when i was the district court judge, only for a year and a couple months, during that brief period of time, i handled any number of habeas matters, state prisoners and so forth, and when i was on the third court of appeals, i handled many more involving death penalty matters. judges handle these cases all the time.
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and they do so well. do they come to different conclusions? yes, that is the nature and that is really the beauty of our judicial system. i do not believe that it should be meddled with in this area. thank you. >> thank you, judge lewis. judge spaulding? >> thank you, sharon. for the past quarter years -- four years, i have represented three guantanamo detainees on a pro bono basis. represented the last russian in guantanamo. thankfully two were released by the bush administration and they are back home peacefully living with their families and trying to reclaim the lives that were
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interrupted and shattered by many years of imprisonment at guantanamo. is now the mayor of his neighborhood in the eastern part of saudi arabia. he got married on the one-year anniversary of his release from guantanamo and he now celebrates that he has a little girl who is almost two years old. we keep in touch by e-mail. he has a hot mail account and he is busily reclaiming that like that were shattered between ages 23 and 28. my russian detainee -- initially there were eight russian detainees and seven were released in 2004.
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our client was not released. he continues to be locked up today. more than eight years after his arrest in pakistan. in mid april, after many years we finally had the opportunity to try his habeas corpus case in front of judge henry kennedy for the district of columbia. in 33 years of practicing law, i have to say i have not had a case that has brought with it as much reward but at the same time as much frustration has these guantanamo habeas cases that were brought to me. and i have to qualify it by saying that the frustrations that i have felt is not frustration with the federal judges but rather frustration with the delay that has occurred, the hooves that need
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to be jump through just to communicate with clients in guantanamo, things of that nature that are logistic. many people ask me, how did you first become involved in representing guantanamo detainees? it might help if you knew little about -- a little about my background. i grew up in the merc creek -- a marine corps family. my father was a career officer in my mother served during world war ii. but dad was killed in vietnam in 1966 when i was a freshman in college. when i graduated, i was proud to decommission the second lieutenant in the marine corps. -- be commissioned a second lieutenant in the marine corps. it was a great experience for me all around but i decided i was going to go to law school. i got out of the marine corps, graduated from the university of
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virginia law school in 1977, and i'd been engaged in the private practice of law here is that the district of columbia ever since then. i joined my firm in 1984. thea trial attorney in litigation's department of this use law firm. we have about 1700 lawyers around the world. the firm to its great credit has always been a very strong supporter of the professions commitment to pro bono legal services. when i saw the pictures, as we all did, of those orange-clad man with the goggles over their highs kneeling behind a chain- link fences and guantanamo, i thought to myself, if ever there was a group of folks who needed pro bono legal representation, these are the guys the need
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that. so i was introduced to the center for constitutional rights, which is an ngo that acts as a clearing house for the guantanamo habeas lawyers, and i went through the training that they sponsor, and at the end of two days of training, i took on the representation of three clients that we have represented since then. their petition was filed at the end of 2005, and finally a share in indicate that following the supreme court decision this last june, we actually began to move into the litigation phase of the habeas case. and the district judge's chlorinated their efforts at the request of the chief justice, coordinated with one of the
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former chief judges, and as the coordinating judge he entered the case management order that dealt with a number of specific and technical elements of the habeas practice. such thing is that the government's filings of its actual returns. here are the facts upon which we justify detention of this prisoner. the petitioners filing of a traverse -- here is the legal argument in the factual basis on which we believe that the detention is unlawful. judge hogan ruled on such things as the burden of proof, and found that the government bears the burden of proving that the detention is lawful in these cases by a preponderance of the evidence. the detainees counsel -- we were talking about potentially life in prison, should the burden be
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higher? the government said that we're talking about a wartime such question. shouldn't the burden be lower? judge hogan listened to the arguments back and forth, considered the facts, and established a burden of proof. he established the law with respect to presumptions in these cases. he set down rulings with regard to how the courts would deal with hearsay evidence, how the judges might handle their preliminary matters, and help evidentiary hinder -- hearings would be held. that case management order along with the protective order which govern the access and the use of classified information has become a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines will the process by which these habeas corpus cases are prepared and ultimately tried.
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one might agree or not agree with each and every one of the provisions establishing the case management order for the protective order, but i believe that judge hogan in the other judges of the court led been involved in fashioning how these cases are proceeding have done an excellent job. in my view, i think what judge hogan did in the case management order is exactly the kind of thing that judge lesiwis was talking about being in the province of the judiciary. our case with the trial in -- -went to trial. the trial lasted 3.5 days, although more. throughout the trial, judge
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kennedy admitted evidence -- virtually all of the evidence that was submitted by the government and by the petitioner was accepted by the judge. there were virtually no objections by the petitioner were by the government to the process that had been fashioned by the judges and was being laid out by judge kennedy in the tower trial. -- in our trial. the 44-page opinion that judge kennedy issued demonstrated to me that he considered carefully each and every piece of evidence that was submitted to him. perhaps most significantly for what we are here talking about today, not once did judge kennedy ever complain that he needed additional guidance or
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legislative attention in order to do the job that he did in trying the habeas cases. he did in this case exactly what i have seen him to in many cases throughout the years when i have been before him. he methodically and carefully considered ways, sifted evidence, and he ascertained the facts. and then he applied to those facts in a thoughtful way to the law. and in doing so, he made a decision. in our case, he made the decision that the petitioner was not lawfully detain. we want our habeas corpus petition in front of judge kennedy. the government has appealed that and we're now in the court of appeals with respect to our particular case. in another case, shortly before our trial with different facts,
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judge kennedy denied the writ of habeas corpus. and i think the record of how that judges have decided the habeas cases is one that reflects that judges are doing exactly what judge kennedy did in our case. they're listening to the evidence, they are weighing the facts, they are applying those facts to the law. that is appropriate. that is what judges do. i want to conclude with some personal observations that i have, having gone through this process. the first one is -- behind the process, fair question. they're people that have been locked up in guantanamo -- in one case unjustly, 8.5 years.
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how much longer must the weight? thomas longer must his mother way? how much longer must his son, now almost nine years old, wait while congress and the courts go through another round of corrective legislation and judicial challenge to that legislation? i think the men that are locked up now deserve attention, they deserve it quickly, and they should not be made to wait any longer. the final comment i would make is that unless habeas corpus includes within it a very concrete and very real remedy, which is relief i think it will ultimately do more harm than good to the courts, to the litigants on both sides, and i think ultimately to our national
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security interest here in the united states. i think the courts are doing just fine. they're doing what courts are supposed to do. they are taking all laws that congress has fashion, and in this case, the use of rigid the authorization to use military force, combining that with a body of law to create the legal principles that apply in these cases. and from then, they have developed a coherent standard of detention. they have developed clear procedures that are being followed by the courts. there court of appeals decisions -- now five from the district of columbia circuit that gives guidance in terms of both process and substance, and it is hard for me to see how congress at this stage can do any better than the courts have done already.
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congress has done its legislative job, i believe. it is not time to let the courts do their judicial job. -- is now time to let the court to their judicial job. there's a separation of power, checks and balances, and judges will be allowed to do the kinds of things that judge kennedy did in our cases and that the court of appeals judges will have an opportunity to do in our case. the congress should not be interfering with that process particularly in the context of an number of limited ongoing cases. not that the executive nor congress can be immune from the writ of habeas corpus. the bid has been constitutionally determined to be available to the guantanamo detainees. even though their costs may be unpopular, we need to let the
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judges continue to decide these cases as they had been and as they have demonstrated they are capable of doing. i thank them for the report that they efficient concluding that habeas for guantanamo detainees does indeed work. >> thank you both. i wanted the project open to discussion portion of our program with a couple of questions. i want ask you to reflect on the charges that commentators calling on congress to act have made is that they say judges are playing a legislative role as opposed to a judicial role. both of you had experience with this. is there something different
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that is somehow legislating? >> if i had just a nickel for every time i have heard that accusation over the course of my judicial career and even since then, i would not have to work right now. that is an unfortunate charge has doug has pointed out. judges overseeing these cases are doing so in very delivered, careful fashion. i think the results speak to that. the government has won most of the cases, and the petitioners have successfully brought habeas petitions. the case management order that they referred to come up an
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excellent approach. it lays out the procedures with what is to be expected. it is certainly within the discretion of district court justices -- judges, almost like a pre-trial order, and there's nothing legislative about that at all. it seems that when people disagree with how courts are handling certain issues, the first argument made is that the decision making process is legislative in nature as opposed to judicial. countryno court in this is immune from that charge. the supreme court all the way down. i fundamentally disagree. i suppose that i should refer to doug with actual experience in court with these matters to answer more fully, but i reject
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the charge. >> de you want to? >> i agree with judge lewis. >> we need your microphone up. >> is that better? it is very common when there is any kind of legislation and there is a court proceeding that deals with that legislation, that some of the legislation will be filled in by judges to apply that law to specific factual situations. that is precisely the kind of process that is unfolding with the guantanamo habeas cases today. if we took the suggestion that the courts were legislating to an extreme, i think that the
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guantanamo habeas legislation -- judge kennedy's opinion was 44 pages long. the opinions in other cases are of similar length. one might have a piece of legislation that might be 2000 pages long in an effort to deal with every permutation of fact that could be applied to the law, if congress was willing deciding that it was going to immersed itself to that level of detail. i think that is inappropriate in the context of these cases, where there is a legal basis upon which people can be detained. it is set forth in the authorization for the use of military force, the courts have had no trouble at this stage identifying what that process means. particularly with the court of appeals, given its role as a
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ultimately the rule with respect to legal issues. the court of appeals has given guidance to the district judges as to how that law is to be applied. and then it is that district judges who have the responsibility to ascertain facts and put it into the legal context that is there. i think that is what they have been doing and i don't think that this legislation at all. that is the judging. -- that is good judging. >> you mentioned that you have handled a number of habeas cases, although not guantanamo ones. can you share lessons learned on how you apply to congress? >> my service as a federal judge proceeded -- preceded the attacks of 9/11.
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naturally i was not dealing with petitions involving enemy combatants and that sort of category. he frequently would handle matters involving prisoners and prisoners rights and so forth. i would not say that these are fairly routine matters because they tend to detract from the importance of each one of these petitions. but there were many and judges over time developed an expertise in examine them -- in examining them and for deciding them. some of them are very important.
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the point that i was making in respect to the brookings institution, it was not infrequent for two justice -- judges to view a petition one way and one just to do it another. i recall one case involving an exercise of religion issue. i thought that we should grant the requested relief. and there are many matters like that that would come up all the time. the point here is that judges are well-equipped based on years of experience and based on the history of this country, really, and the judiciary to address these matters. some are very complicated, some
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very complex, and some involve issues that no one has thought of and they cannot be codified because they are new. i think that part -- i use the term beauty -- is that it is human in nature and creativity is not taboo. we frequently call. our judges to come up with answers to difficult questions. i think that it is not -- i have not heard a rationale for taking these procedures out of the hands of the federal judiciary, from the federal courts, that makes sense to me. or that is rooted in any necessity. that is why i argue for
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congressional inaction in this area. >> time for a question for mr. spaulding before i open it up to the audience. one of the charges leveled by the commentators is the lack of consistency. you talk a little bit about different cases coming out differently before the same judge. would you expect more consistency of the outcome or is that the goal here? >> i would think that there was additional legislation if it was detailed and minute an essentially tied -- an essentially tied that judges hand in an inappropriate way. maybe there would be a greater level of consistency, if you will, but i think the second part of your question is the important one, is that what we
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really what we want? the real beauty of our system, and frankly the beauty of habeas corpus which has been around for thousands of years in our common law tradition, but for magnet card of -- before magana carta, is that it is someone not the king of the parliament somewhat rigid a chance to see whether this prisoner is lawfully held or if he should be released. the judges have fashions, as judges often do in all kinds of complex litigation, a passion the process and procedure. they have philbin the substantive law in such a way that they are able to accomplish exactly what habeas corpus is designed to accomplish.
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>> this is being filmed by c- span so we need to make sure that your questions are heard. you have to wait until you get the microphone into your hand. we need to get the microphone in your hand, please identify yourself and your affiliation, and please actually ask a question. please come up front here. you might want to come down the aisle? ok. the gentleman in the front row here. >> i am a retired -- i writ -- i am a retired trial judge here in d.c. i believe that judge hogan has written either in opinion or in legal literature that there is
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some need for congress to act in this area. i may be wrong in that. do you see some gaps in this whole area of birth legislative solutions or involvement is needed? something that comes to my mind -- if the habeas decision is denied, how long will they remain in carson nation -- incarceration? is that a legislative decision or someone else's? >> i am not aware of anything that judge hogan has written calling for some legislation because of the perceived gap. he may well have. i'm just not aware of that. quite frankly, i am not familiar enough with the tax will on the ground -- the actual on the
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ground gaps that may have to be filled in because i have not tried one of these cases. i do not think that i am confident to answer that. -- confidence -- competent to add to that. if there is a procedure for a time limit for bringing an appeal -- i am sorry, for addressing the issue of how long one may remain detained pending appeal -- i think that is your question. she did after the appeal is over, -- >> after the pill is over. >> i think obviously there should be. the question we are addressing here is the idea of congress taking out of the hands of the federal trustee harry -- judiciary oversight of the
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habeas oversight procedure that seems to be working pretty well. i don't think anyone is suggesting that there may not be specific areas that, if redresses needed, congress should take some action. i am not aware of those. maybe you are. >> with respect to judge hogan, he did in the context of issuing a decision in one of his cases that he is personally handling, commented that the courts at that stage -- this was probably about a year ago -- said that the courts or operating in a context where there was not legislation and that legislation could have provided guidance to judge hogan and to the other judges in the context of doing what they were doing.
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i do not think it is surprising -- and judge, you may have a better appreciation for this -- i do not think it is surprising for a judge to say in some respect here, i am operating in a context where i do not have a lot of guidance from the legislative body, and if i had guidance, that would make my job easier. on the other hand, what judge hogan did in the context of that situation was to fashion, as judges often do, of very comprehensive and reasonable case management order that filled in those kinds of things that any judge would say, it would be great if i had some guidance in doing it. now we have many habeas trials under the belt, if you will, of
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the federal judges were those procedures have been put into place and are being worked out in the careful, methodical way that the common law procedures unfold. i think it would be a mistake to go back to the beginning, which is where judge hogan was at the time that he observed that there was not a lot of guidance from i that the supreme court for from congress in fashioning these rules. now the rules aren't place and i believe that to stop that process -- are in place and i believe that to stop that process would further delay, and in my view, having watched what happened when the detainee treatment act was adopted by congress, having watched what happened when the military commissions act was adopted by congress, there was much more confusion. what had been established as a procedure stopped immediately
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law challenges were made to those congressional enactments. it also engendered a lot more confusion in terms of what is the substance of law, how do we proceed, and i think we're almost nine years into this process already. we do not need more confusion. we do not need more delay. in terms of your question of how long will someone be incarcerated if they are bound to be an underprivileged enemy belligerent, if they fall into that category, a lot is that they can be detained -- the law is that they can be detained until such time that the hostilities cease. this is not a penalty. this not a punishment. it is not like, well, you are a bad person and you need to be locked up or six years. it is a situation of, you can be
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detained for as long as the hostilities continue. i believe that at some point there will be legal challenges, properly so, as to whether the hostilities continue or whether they have ceased. i suspect that that judges will be able to look to a well- established body under the laws of war and make that determination when the issue comes up. >> one other point about the flip side of that, where they have won the habeas petition anyone released to happen. the executive branch has a lack of standards and they need more flexibility and timing themselves to work out how those releases will ultimately occur. we have another question. >> a civic member of the council. both of you are making a
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persuasive case about the capacity of the judiciary to handle the cases that you are talking about. both of you have asserted, however, that deferring to the congress for summer much of this matter has some downside. i've not heard much detail except for your last point about confusion. i like to draw you out more on what those downsized might be. >> for starters, i would point to a different area of the law. the anti-terrorism and death penalty act of 1994, i believe -- 1996, thank you. seemingly a good idea. the habeas provisions caused all kinds of disarray in the courts, as many of you probably know.
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i think that i am not here to suggest that our representatives cannot do of very fine job -- a very fine job of oversight and taking appropriate action to enact legislation that is helpful to the ongoing functions of the court in society and so forth. i think that there are some areas that are simply better left to the hands of those who have practical, direct experience that has resulted in an evolution of wisdom and practice brought to bear in dealing with these very difficult, complicated problems. in this area, i believe that is the courts. i do not want to the day. i think that there are areas of the law where we have seen over time, at least in my judgment,
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congressional action that has made things a lot more difficult than necessary. when i was an assistant united states attorney, congress enacted sentencing guidelines, very confusing initially to judges and prosecutors and defense attorneys. what do these things mean and what did they do? discretion in sentencing was taken out of the hands of district court judges. when i was a district court judge, i remember the difficulty in deciding a lot of sentencing issues that arose because of the guidelines. now the supreme court has done -- made it very clear that these are guidelines, not requirements. you still have discretion in making a decision.
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the idea on those guidelines was a wonderful idea. it was uniformity in sensing. but it did not work. they did not work well and they were criticized roundly by all sides. in a similar vein here we already have an effective functioning system that is developing and it will develop more overtime. i am not trying to be baked. i am simply suggesting phrygia i'm not trying to be vague. why in five codification that only invites additional challenges -- invite codification that only invites additional challenges and complexities that will ultimately -- that will inevitably arise? >> i want to add that i do not think that this is an area where
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substantively there are complaints about the decision's been made by that judges. i think that there was a time before that judges started trying these cases in issuing their opinions were people thought, these liberal federal judges are going to look at these cases and let all of these terrorists go free. in fact, i think that the opinions that have come out reflect a very thoughtful determination of who is properly detained in who is not. it is interesting that there would be an interest in further legislation in the context -- i know what is broken in the system that is in place for now. and just the time delay. when you think about it, there are probably -- do not hold me
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to these numbers, but maybe another 55 that would take place? there are a number in guantanamo that i think that if we got the situation with yemen squared away enough, they could be released. there's a moratorium on that for the most part now. but it is a relatively limited number. each week or month as the judge is trying these cases, is a relatively small number of cases that remain to be tried. i do not think that we need legislative enactments to fix something that is not broken. >> anyone else in the audience have a question question -- a question? well if you would join me -- a concluding remark. the tanker panelists. -- i wanted to thank judges
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lewis and judge spaulding and sharing. how one of the thank everyone for being here today. please make sure that you pick up a copy of the report. it has are websites for more information about this important issue. and thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> in a few moments, a briefing on plans to send more u.s. card
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trick -- national guard troops to the mexican border. then president obama encourages congress to extend unemployment insurance. and more comments on unemployment insurance from senator harry reid and jack reed. the senate judiciary commitment bus tomorrow morning on the nomination of the land kagan to be an associate justice of the supreme court. you can see her confirmation hearing on line at c- span.org/kagan. you confine your other appearances here on c-span. all of that have more -- and more.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp 2010]
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> with my colleagues we addressed the next stage in this ongoing effort.
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since janet napalatono took her place as the secretary of homeland security in the administration of president obama, we have seen past efforts, but also an increase in resources in an unprecedented way. but we have seen the addition in accordance with the elements of the strategy we have consistently followed having to do with infrastructure personnel, strategy, and technology. today the secretary announced the active deployment of 1,200 national guards, and that will begin august 1. the efforts of the national guard will be to support the personnel that d.h.s. has increased and placed on the southwest border since 2009.
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we will see an increase in the technology that will be made available there. the mobile surveillance that has been used in facilitating apprehension of illegal aliens and drugs coming across our border. we will also deploy six additional aviation aircraft to assist along with the infrastructure of the agents and the technology that we have in place in the protection of our border. the national guardsmen that will
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deploy august 1, although preparations have been underway to make that happen, and we will continue to ramp up in ways that general mckinley will discuss, will support personnel present on the border. they will provide identification to our agents to permit our agents to react to the illegal entry across our border, be it illegal immigration or illegal narcotics trafficking. what we see then is a continuation of efforts that have been underway but also an identification -- intense identification of that that will be followed over time in the prums of the southwest border that in the case of c.p.p. would ahead 1,000 additional border apatrol agents, additional
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c.p.p. officers for our -- c.b.p. officers as well as the addition of unmanned aviation assets for deployment on the southwest border. the border is more secure than its ever been, but the war continues as the challenge remains. what we've seen is an increase in illegal alien entry amounting to 23% across the border, an increase in the seizure and interdiction of drugs amounting to 15%, and an increase in the seizure of illegal weapons amounting to 30% over last fiscal year. this indicates the direction in
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which we are moving is the correct one. it also indicates we have additional work to do. with the announcement today of the president's supplemental budget and the intention to boost in concert with other agencies including the national guard, we expect to see this progress sustained. >> good morning. i'm john morten, assistant secretary for homeland security and department of directions of portland. our office at homeland investigations is dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of organized criminal engagement border smuggling, whether that be the smuggling of people, cash, firearms, or drugs, our office of enforcement and illegal
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operations worked with our sister agency, and you heard from the commissioner to ensure that criminal aliens and illegal border crossers are apprehended and removed. last year we removed 136,000 people were from -- today we acted to increase our efforts. efforts already at an all-time high. as of june 1, 2010, we have deployed an additional i.c.e. special agents, i.c.e. illegal officers, and i.c.e. along border states and mexico. we are adding 68 national guardsmen who will serve as intelligence in the four states along the border to help us focus on our cross-border
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investigations, namely texas, new mexico, and california. today's announcement builds on a strong commitment to the southwest border we have with i.c.e. and indeed roughly a quarter of our agents are stationed along the southwest border in those states. there is emphasis on the two-pronged pressure in arizona, an area favored by smugglers and the port of illegal entry along the southwest border. here is how we are going to augment our efforts in arizona and do it by opening a new investigative office in arizona to exclusively look for cross-border crime. we are going to train agents in douglas, arizona, to do investigations in the part of the country -- we're going to
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deploy additional i.c.e. attorneys to the united states attorney's office to prosecute criminals who illegally reenter the country after removal. in deed, we're presently prosecuting every single felon who reenters the country through the tuscon center. by sending additional i.c.e. agents to mexico, we will be able to investigate those who live on the mexico side. we will have i.c.e. employees in mexico city, the largest we have had in mexico city and making it our largest office in the world. we have quite a number of officers in the world, 63 officers in 44 different countries. we're also adding enforcement of officers to focus on an hending border along side c.b.p.
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these build on advances we made lat last year. we conducted operations arresting 47 people engaged in alien smuggling through nogales, tucson, and phoenix. this is the largest anti-smuggling investigation of its kind. we took out a network of five different france tation companies directly involved in illegal immigration. in march we opened our operation in phoenix for the removal of i will lells -- illegals in the country by air. this has removed 4,000 aliens found to be living unlawfully in the united states. in addition, they started a program to stop mexican drug
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smugglers to prosecute them back in mexico in those instances when prosecution wasn't possible in the united states. so when we began this -- since we began this program 30 not smugglers have been presented in mexico by federal prosecutors and several are now serving 10-year zenses. thank you very much. >> commissioner bersin, secretary martin, it is a pleasure to be here. 460,000 men and women making up your mat guard. i am also working with the general of the border states of arizona, mexico, and texas to say we are pleased to be in support of our interagency partners, the 1,200 members of the national guard who will be assigned have already started in the preliminary planning stages of the effort. our ramp-up, as the commissioner
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says, will be over time, and we'll make sure all our soldiers and airmen are well qualified f. well integrated, and well briefed on the mission at hand. we are pleased because along the southwest border we have had an integration effort of counternarcotics of over two decades where 300 national guard men and women are already working with our interagency partners. so this augment tation force will be one in which our department will fully implement and be in support of the lead agencies here. that concludes my brief opening statement and i would love to take your questions along with the commissioner.
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>> you talk a lot about implementation of illegal -- stopping illegal drugs. but i wonder if this seems to have escalated. this happened right across the border. how much do you have to redirect what you have been doing? >> since 2006 when president calderon took the historic decision in his country to confront organized crime, and most particularly, as shown by the summit between president calderon and president obama we have been deeply involved and committed to assisting mexico in dealing with the violence that's been generated by this confrontation with organized crime. the incident in juarez that you refer to is one of concern to both governments and we have been looking into it to ascertain exactly what kind of
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explosion -- explosive devices, if any, were involved in it. so without -- i take your point. the violence which we've seen since 2006, and it has been increasing in the last two years, is of grave concern. this latest incident is one in a long string of violent incidents. the precise nature of it is one that we need to work with our mexican colleagues and counterparts to discover exactly what it was and what implications it may have. >> are there national guard that are being deployed in anyway going to be helping in that sort of intelligence? >> not directly. of course, this effort to secure and render more safe the border involves confronting transnational criminal organizations that have been the subject of efforts on both sides of our shared border with mexico. to the extend tent that the national guard will insist law
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enforcement on the border to detect entries through the entry identification and to analyze those with the analysts as the an loiflt general has indicated, there is a connection but not a direct connection to that particular incident. >> the question about the guardsmen, when will all 1,200 be deployed? when will they all be there? can you tell us what kind of training they have received ahead of time? what can you tell us about their rules of engagement? for example, when will they be allowed to use lethal force? >> the training is ongoing. the planning for that training will take place over the next several weeks. we believe that our criminal analysts will receive training in texas and arizona and our entry identification teams in each of the respective states. we believe that we'll be fully ready through the month of august as we ramp up.
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but surely by september we should have our full forces in the field working with our partners. we want to make sure that each and every soldier or airman, because they could come from the international guard or the army national guard, has been fully trained. the rules to the use of force is yielded to will be well coordinated and they are the scame -- same as our counter narcotics team. self-preservation only, self-defense only, and the agents we'll be assisting will have lead of any type of engagement. those are the general rules of engagement that we're passing out to the field. and remember, too, that these guardsmen will be under the command and control of their governors so that the states will retain control over their individual members of the national guard. >> commissioner, the white house has said before that the members
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of the national guard would not voo -- not have direct con tabblingt with minors. is this still the role of these particular national guard mebbeds that are going to be, as you called it, bridging for a year until you hire more agents? and if you could later on or now, give us a statement in spanish, we would appreciate it. >> the ongoing situation will continue. law enforcement is there to support, not to have a direct law enforcement role. not to confront, unless confronted by any particular threat. this is a question of supporting law enforcement. the national guard has done that extremely well in the past and we trust will do so again on this occasion.
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[speaking spanish] [unintelligible] >> also, if i may, i understand that salt lake city received the yuda lease in april.
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i was wondering if -- what happened with that lease or if there investigates regarding to that lease. >> i'll start with the last question and the commissioner can answer your first question. >> we're looking for -- we're investigating the circumstances of how the list was received at i.c.e., by at this point there doesn't appear to be any indication that the list was used in any way to conduct an engagement or enforcement action. we'll make sure of that when we cross the t's and dot the i's, but that's the initial assessment. >> regarding the militia, the militia on the border. i have seen those reports but i have not actually confirmed or been advised as to the specific activities.
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i will say that in the past, while the rights of all americans to express themselves of course is respected and guarded, that it's very critical to operations at the border that there be no interference with laffle -- lawful activities of law enforcement there at the border. and that in the past that has always been made very clear to those who would be present on the border. that they must comply with the law and they must not interfere with legitimate law enforcement activities. i suspect that would be the guidance here as well. >> does the national guard do a speciality that cannot be obtained anywhere else?
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>> we have worked extensively with our interagency partners for over 20 two decades. so that connection is well understood. we are going to supply those things which the department of homeland security has asked us to supply, and those are criminal analysts and entry identification team specialists, and we will do some work as the secretary said with intelligence analysis. those are specifically the jobs that we've been asked to do. they are very well within our job to do these things. as most of you know, the national guard has been involved not only here at home, but we've been overseas now almost nine years in our efforts in iraq and afghanistan. these are efforts that i think will bring sinnery -- synergy and bring teamwork together, and
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i know all young men and women will do a great job when asked. president bush did something similar with even more national guardsmen on the border, and yet the results were not helpful. how will this be different? the last time the national guard was there it was to allow more agents to be hired. why did that plan fail and why will this plan work? >> this is a continuation of an effort. it is not an end point. it is a continuing strengthening of the border in terms of unprecedented resources as we move forward. the additional i.c.e. agents and c.b.p. officers that is requested in the president's splmental continues to give us additional resources we need to continue to assert control of the various corridors of the
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southwest border. so i would suggest we look at that aa process of continuing to strength general -- strengthen the border as opposed to some end point. we have to continue to keep this border under control to be able to deal with the transnational criminal organizations that, yes, continue to attempt and do smuggle narcotics and aliens and coming north and take guns and money going south. to this extent the guard has been a tried and tested support to law enforcement on the border and i'm confident we'll approve there instance. >> will this now be a pattern where you have to call in the guard whether it be a thousand, 4,000, you call the guard back
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every view years? >> i think each case will have to be dealt with on the merits as this one as been and i believe those in the past have been. it is a question of continuing to resource the border, to build on the efforts that have been made and to assess the progress in a variety of ways as to whether or not additional resources were helping. >> recently we are feeling -- seeing the cartels. [untellible] are you specifically more concerned about the situation? is the u.s. government about to provide better help, perhaps, in order to provide some of the experience that was learned in afghanistan? >> as i indicated before in response to a previous question, the nature of the explosive device that was contained in the car that led to the death of federal officers in mexico is still under investigation and needs to be identified.
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the fact of the matter is violence has been escalating in mexico as a result of the civil war among the cartels and the struggle between the government of mexico and those cartels. so we see this as part of an ongoing threat that we've been cooperating deeply with the government of mexico to confront. this effort involves providing assistance, information sharing, and certain technical assistance. i don't have any information as to what specifically might be done in connection with this, but i'm sure it will be the subject of consultation. >> and is this more the work of the u.a.v.? we understand there is an agreement with mexico in order to allow the u.a.b.'s to fly over some cities from mexico. >> those discussions are ongoing
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and no agreement has been reached, and there have been no flights. we have been on the southwest for a number of years using u.a.c. assets to provide situational awareness and also to permit us to detect and respond to threats as well as to monitor natural disasters, for example, be they floods in the north border or hurricanes in the gulf. so this is a very important additional asset that's available for homeland security to provide situational awareness. but there have been no agreements reached to date regarding the use of the u.a.v. within mexico for that purpose. >> let's give somebody else aturn.
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>> we have deployed along the southwest borders part of customs and border protections air capacity a series of aviation assets, a-350 helicopters, the so-called a-stores. we have blackhawks, we have dash -eights and a variety of aviation assets. what secretary nap tan owe -- napalatano has supported and rammed up particularly in the tucson sector, we will be snding in helicopters and a yagseyation experts to increase the stock that's already there. this is a deployment that will last until the secretaries determine it is no longer dark in the tucson sector.
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[untellible] >> i cannot identify where they come from, but when you deploy an asset like that it is not that you come and you stay. in is a constant motion among the sectors both with personnel and aviation aspects. it is not as though they come and they are depriving a number of sectors for a specific period of deployment. >> for the general, you talked about self-defense. is it wise that the guardsmen are going to be armed? number two, does that mean they will actually be conducting pa patrols? [untellible] >> self-protection means just that. if for some reason under some
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kind of danger they need to extricate themselves they will take the lead from law enforcement personnel and that support will -- entry identification teams will fill a variety of roles depending on the situation, but they certainly will be deployed on the united states side of the border following the rules of engagement as set forth by the lead agencies here. so we have done this before and it is common practice for our soldiers and airmen to follow the leads and only take that action which is necessary to extricate themselves from the situation and not be provocative. >> the entry identification teams are going to be assisting the commissioner and c.b.p. the current intelligence analysts are the people that will assist i.c.e. and that's in connection with the criminal investigations being completed across the border. >> what do they do?
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>> they work with border patrol agents in this case to provide additional eyes and ears on the border so they are at predetermined places along the border to be able to assist in identifying attempted entries and communicating to border patrol agents that we've been -- would then take efforts at apprehension. >> and that would be what, an observation tower? >> in particular, given the drain, you would have them at certain positions that would have been predetermined by the border patrol leadership and expertise in the particular sector and from that particular vantage point would be in a position to provide situational awareness of a particular portion of the border. >> they will be armed guardsmen. >> they will? >> yes. >> yes, sir?
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>> a question for the general. with the u.s. fighting two wars in iraq and afghanistan, are you worried at all that the government is dipping back into the guard constantly for this mission? and is this having any effect at all on troop readiness or the number of troops that will be available regarding troops in iraq and afghanistan? >> well, national guard supplies troops for overseas operations, the united states air force and the united states army. we're at about 54,000 guardsmen now currently serving l i asked the question before i came down here what the size of these national guards are in these four states. in california there are 19,000, arizona 6,970, new mexico, 2,984, and texas 2,988.
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so even though states are providing sources overseas, there is a substantial number of men and women available to provide this duty. so i rely on the governorers that is part of a group of governors that advises secretary gate and secretary napalatano to advise me where the need is, and i cannot see a case where we would be over-extending the national guard in this effort. >> do you know if these troops have had changes of deployment for overseas? >> no, none have had to change their deployments. >> i think we have time for one more. the patient gentleman in the far back. [untellible] snood inside
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[unintelligible] >> the department of homeland security has identified those needs in those states. i don't want to go into specific as to which state got how many guardsmen but governor schwarzenegger has the capeability to put additional resources out there. but these are being supplied and paid for by the federal government. >> secretary morten indicated what was become accepted knowledge based on the data we received regarding seizures of narcotics in which the evidence is that half of the marijuana seizures made at the u.s. mexican border are done at the
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tucson sector and with regard to illegal immigration, half of the illegal migrants who have been apprehended this fiscal year have been apprehended in the tucson sector. while the numbers are down significantly from previous years, the fact of the matter is that there is still 171,000 people that have been apprehended in that sector this year, and that represents just under 50% of the total apprehensions of the entire border along brownsville to san diego. >> in a few moments, president obama encourages senators to encourage extending unemployment benefits. senate leaders talk about extending unemployment benefits. and after that, we'll continue
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to look at unemployment benefits and then a wurnl segment -- "washington journal" segment l. >> president obama today called on senate republicans to support extension ever unemployment benefits. another procedural vote on the measure is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon with senators now having the 60 votes needed to move forward. this is a little less than 10 minutes. >> good morning, everybody.
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right now many americans are sitting at their tables to fill out an additional application. they are filled with uncertainty about where their next paycheck will come from. i know the only thing that will entirely free them from those worries, the only thing that will fully lift that sense of uncertainty is the security of a new job. to that end, we all have to continue our efforts to do everything in our power to spur growth and hiring. i hope the senate acts this week on a package of tax cuts and expanded lending for small businesses where most of america's jobs are created. we've got a lot of work to do to make sure that we are digging ourselves out of this tough economic hole that we've been in. but even as we work to jump start job growth in the private sector, even as we work to get
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businesses hiring again, we also have another responsibility. to offer emergency assistance to people who desperately need it. to americans who have been laid off in this recession. weach got a responsibility to help them make ends meet and support their families even as they are looking for another job. that's why it is so important to pass the annual unemployed insurance extension that comes up tomorrow. we need to pass this for men like jim, who is with me here today. jim worked as a parts manager at a honda dealership until about two years ago he has posted resumes everywhere, he has gone door-to-door looking for jobs, but he hasn't gotten a single interview. he's trying to be strong for his two young kids, but now that
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he's exhausted his unemployment benefits, that's getting harder to do. we need to pass this for women like leslie maco who lost her job at a business center last year and has been looking for work ever since because she's eligible for only a few more weeks of unemployment, she's doing what she never thought she would have to do, not at this point anyway, she's turning to her father for financial support. we need to pass this for americans like denise gibson who is laid off from a real state agency earlier this year. denise has been interviewing for jobs, but so far nothing has turned up. meanwhile, she's fallen further and further behind on her rent, and with her unemployment benefits set to expire, she's set to -- worried about what the future holds. we need to pass this for people who in a country where there are
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five applicants for every opening. we need it to help people put food on the table while they are looking for another job. for a long time there has been a tradition among both democratic and republican pts to offer relief to the un-- presidents to offer relief to the unemployed. that was certainly the case for my predecessor when they voted several times to extend unemployment benefits. right now these benefits, which are often the sole source of income while they are looking for work, are in jeopardy. i have to say, after years of championing policies that turned a record spluss into a massive deficit, the same people that didn't have problems spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest americans are now saying we shouldn't offer relief to middle class americans like jim, leslie, or denise who really need help.
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>> in the past few weeks, a jort of senators have tried three times to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. each time a partisan minority in the senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote denying millions of people who are out of work much needed relief. these leaders in the senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief helps people looking for a job should talk to these folks. that attitude i think reflects a lack of faith in the american people because the americans i hear from, in letters and town hall meetings, americans like leslie, and jim, and denise, they are not looking for a hand yout. they desperately want to work, it is just right now they can't find a job. these are honest, decent
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hardworking folks who have fallen under hard times through no choice of their own but have nowhere else to turn except unemployment benefits and need some emergency relief to weather this storm. tomorrow we will have another chance to offer them that relief to do right by not just jim and leslie and denise, but all the americans who need a helping hand right now. it is time to stop holding people laid off in this recession hostage to washington politics. it is time to do what's right not just for the next election but for the middle class. we have to stop blocking relief to americans who are out of work. we need to pass those tax cuts for small businesses and the lending for small business. fimes are hard right now, we are
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moving in the right dreck, but there are times when you put elections aside. this is one of those times. that's what i hope members on both sides of the aisle will do tomorrow. >> is the intelligence community -- >> another procedural vote scheduled for next tuesday afternoon. >> another vote is scheduled on the floor. their retirement security. they lost their tuiti payments in many instances. they lost their homes. they lost their gas money, their
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grocery money, and many other things that they simply couldn't do. all of this through no fault of their own. and i'm not talking about a handful of people in isolated corners of this we are not talking about a handful of people in isolated parts of the country, i am talking about millions of people. for many of them, unemployment is not just a temporary inconvenience. for far too many, it is an unending emergency. excuse me. on the front page of today's "new york times" reports and the same in newspapers all over the country, 40% of the unemployed in this country have been out of work for six months or longer. thesh trying to understand why at this pressing moment whether jobs pr harder to come by than at any time in recent history congress just can't get its act together to extend emergency insurance, just as it has always
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done in a bipe vacuum for decades. part of the reason is that many on the other side don't see this -- they look at a crisis for family's budgets and see opportunity for political fortunes. they think that when unemployment goes up, so do poll numbers. some even think that the unemployed enjoy being out of work. that's why one of the top republicans in the senate called unemployment assistance a disincentive for them to seek new work. they voted three times in recent weeks against extending it. another senior republican said that these americans, people that want nothing more than to find a new job don't want to go look for work. they, too, voted no three times. and a third senior republican senator, says colleagues are time and again -- excuse me. justified it by saying, listen
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to this quote, we should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to blow it on drugs. end of quotes. that is a direct quote. my constituents take offense to these statements. they have called or e-mailed or called when i was home to talk to me about this.
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one of these smalse came to me last -- e-mails came to me last week from las vegas. scott hedrick wrote me. you could hear in that e-mail his anger. it's really sad. he's one of 2.5 million americans who because of republican objections are no longer getting the unemployment help they need. this is what scott hedrick wrote to me. quote, i have been employed since july 2008, and i've even sought jobs packing bags at a grocery market. i can't get work. i have since left my family in
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plastic bags lags, a wife and five children, to look for work, and still no work. he said that they demand demand that those people apologize. further quote, i and my family have already lost everything but each other. that was the end of his e-mail. scott is right. the twists of logic we have seen in the unemployment rate isn't just appalling or heartless, because it is certainly both of those things, it is also factually wrong. first, there is only one job in america for five americans desperate to fill it. no one should accuse americans as being unemployed by choice, especially those lawmakers whose irresponsible policies created the market to create the collapse of the job market in the first place.
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first, unemployment works. mark zandy, jock jock's economic ad -- john mccain's economic adviser -- we double our investment in the unploim employed. if you think about it, it makes sense. no one is getting rich offer off the $300 check they get each week. these americans turn around and spend the money. they immediately pay a bill, go to the store, keep up with their mortgage payments. they spend it on the basics of bare necessities while they look for work. the money goes right back to the economy, which strengthens it, fuels growth, and let's business create the jobs that unemployed have been looking for for so long. the people are trying to find work and they would much rather
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get a pay check than an unemployment check. there are people like scott hedrick who has been tryingor few years to find work. democrats aren't going to furnish our backs on them. he sends out resumes and goes to job interviews, but for months and months he's heard nothing but "no." what a shame. >> thank you, mr. president. we are seeing over the last 12 months a recovery in our job market. in the last six months, we have seen that accelerate, but not sufficiently to reduce unemployment to anything compareable to -- comparable to full employment economy. this year we have generated
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600,000 jobs in the private sector. that is in sharp contrast to january of 2009 when president obama took office when we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. losing 700,000 jobs a month. despite this improvement in the jobs market, we have a long, long way to go. and it is particularly trubblinging to be once again anticipating a low tomorrow on the ex-- a "no" tomorrow on the extension of unemployment benefits. meanwhile, thousands of americans are without access to unemployment funds. the insurance funds that they pay each week in their daily wages for the time they never hoped would come but has come where they could rely upon some support as they look for work. in rhode island, the unemployment rate is 12%.
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absolutely horrenduous. we are seeing more and more of our unemployment being long term. nearly half, 45.5% have been out of work for more than six months. in those six months, the excess savings that you might have, the act to cut a few corners to make it week by week are less and less effective in simply keeping the lights on and keeping the family together. and then when you take away your unemployment compensation, people are frankly becoming desperate. and yet, many on the other side are completely indifferent to this. it is not their problem. well, it is their problem. it is our problem. if we cannot do this, we are failing to provide a basic function, which is to support americans in a crisis.
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and that's what we must do. people looking for work, the average individual has been looking for 35 weeks. that's almost a year, a big part of a year, and yet in the midst of this economic downturn, 14.6 million unemployed americans, my colleagues on this side, have forced us to go through procedural hoops to get a vote on unemployment compensation extension. the senators failed on three occasions to pass this extension. not because there is not a majority of senators who want this, because procedural we need 60 votes to end debate and vote on the measure. with what this program -- we've let this program lapse a short period, so now we have been lamsed since june 2nd, and that is unacceptable. there is no other word for it, but obstruction, a stopping of something that has been done routinely on a bipe measure, and
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every major job resession in this country in our lifetime. george w. bush had a period of time where there was a dip in the jobs market, and there were no repeated delays, stretching it out only two months extension ors three-month extensions could be considered, it was done because we had to help americans who needed to help and who had contributed to the fund through their unemployment compensation insurance. we have never failed to he can tend unemployment compensation when the unemployment rate was at least 7.4%. today if it was at 7.4%, you're
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in recovery. 12% in rhode island. if i go around the country, there are too many states like rhode island with 12%, 10%, 11%. the national unemployment rate is over 9%. this is an historical ano onely -- ananomally. we have extended the unemployment insurance as long as it has been at at least 7.7% but now in the midst of a much worse economic crisis, my colleagues are simply indifferent to it. most of them. i'm hopeful that tomorrow we will rally one or two who recognize the need to respond to the needs of their constituents. and you know, we have extended it for much longer periods of time than the current time. in the 1970's under presidents ford and quarter, two different
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presidents, one republican, one democrat, three years. in the 1908's under president reagan, yes we extended un employment compensation benefits without paying for it under ronald reagan in a bipartisan fashion to help americans. two years, 10 months. the 1990's, under president bush, george herbert walker bush and president crin clinton, 2 years and 6 months. we are hardly at the point where these things have been going on so long they are intolerable. routinely we have done this on a bipartisan basis. republican presidents, democratic presidents, republican congresses, democratic congresses. what i would argue has changed is our colleagues on the other side. now, we are going through another procedural vote. and at the end of the day, on file merits, this could pass 80,
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90 votes. no one wants to be accused of not extending this. but this whole procedural strategy of delay after delay after delay effectively has denied millions of people, not just the dollars, which are important, but just the sense -- the small sense of security that they can rely on these funds. but there is some -- that there is some place they can go. in rhode island, the average weekly benefits is $360 a month, that they can get at least $360 a month to feed their families to provide for the essential delay. when that is stripped away, they lose more than just $360. they lose the sense that there is anything out there that is going to help them. now, beyond this procedure delay, my colleagues argue, well, the reason we don't want to give this is it is a
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disincentive to work. $360 a week is not a disincentive for people to work. this is not a case where people are saying, i don't want to work
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this far. we are in the midst of a deep economic recession. two wars, unfunded. in fact, i think this is probably the first time in the history of this country where we cut taxes in a time of war rather than trying to pay for these wars. the largest expansion in wars unpaid for. you can go on and on and on. and that has led, along with a mere yad -- miriad of other policies, lax regulation, the lack of innovation in our economy, the looking on of other countries, china and other countries have taken boled --

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